Livestock producers need to remind consumers of their divine right to eat meat.

That's the message Florida agriculture professor Wes Jamison delivered to producers at last week's Illinois Commodity Conference at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington.

Jamison said animal rights advocates have been using a religious argument to sway public opinion on issues such as factory farms or the eating of pork.

"This debate is not about science or economics," said Jamison, a professor of communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University who also teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in communications at the University of Florida.

Jamison's presentation, including broadcast excerpts from TV evangelists, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and "Saturday Night Live," focused on tactics employed by the Humane Society of the United States.

"Eight billion broilers (chickens) are raised every year in the United States. People like dead animals on their plate. So why should the apex predator care about its prey? Religion is the answer - the key to a winning campaign," he said.

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